Homeport Employee Profile: Don Butler

Don Butler

Don Butler

Title:   Real Estate Controller

Responsibilities: As a member of the Finance Department, I provide financial analysis, expertise and assistance to Homeport’s Rental Development and Asset Management departments. I prepare monthly bank draws for Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects under construction, like our Hamilton Crossing apartment community for seniors being built in Whitehall. I participate in the refinancing of Homeport owned apartments or single family homes. In 2016, I was heavily involved in Homeport property sales including our previous headquarters at 562 E. Main Street.

What do you like most about our organization?

I have been very blessed during my work career, and when this opportunity came up at Homeport I looked at it as an opportunity to give back.  I enjoy working with everyone here and love the single-minded focus the entire organization has on providing quality housing and related services to those in need.

What have you done in your career that you are most proud of, or that people may not be aware of?

My high school guidance counselor became aware of a scholarship program to The Ohio State University through the Big Eight accounting firm Ernst & Whinney (now Ernst & Young) and encouraged me and three classmates to apply.  We were all successful in obtaining full scholarships!  Not having to worry about paying for college allowed me to focus on classwork and graduate with honors.

While in college, I realized I had a very logical mind which allowed me to be very good at computer programming so much so that I helped several friends, who were struggling with the required programming courses, to pass their classes.

To this day, I always explore how to utilize computers to make complicated processes more accurate and efficient.

Favorite things I do outside of work?

I love family and golf -- but not necessarily in that order (kidding). In all seriousness, I am blessed to spend time with Jill, my wife of 32 plus years, and our two boys, John (we call him Jack) and Alex,  who are now 29 and 25.

My other passion is golf.  In a way golf found me.  I was never big enough to play football, never athletic enough to play baseball, and never tall enough to play basketball.  One day some friends put a golf club in my hands and I was hooked. I try to play once a week.  If I could, I would play every day.  I am not that good, but it is the one (or two) great shots each round that keep me coming back.

Personal heroes?

I’d have to say my parents and my wife.

My parents encouraged me to excel in school which allowed me to obtain a scholarship to attend Ohio State.  My parents were always encouraging me to try different things and to be active (which is how I became interested in golf).

Jill, my wife, because she has always been there for me through thick and thin and continues to make me smile every day. We truly enjoy each other’s company and always find fun things to do together.

What do I like about Central Ohio?

I was raised on the Hilltop, attended Central High School (now COSI), attended The Ohio State University, and worked for a major public accounting firm in Columbus for six years. 

In January 1985 I left public accounting and moved to Boston where I was recruited to be the Director of Mortgage and Real Estate Accounting of a major Boston-based insurance company that today is part of MetLife. I would later work as a Controller for a real estate investment advisor that provided services to major pension funds that included AT&T and General Motors.

I have held CFO or senior leadership positions subsequently in Boston, Columbus and Cleveland but finally decided to make Columbus home again on a permanent basis in November 2014. My out of town career experiences were great but I don’t miss the miserable daily commutes of 1.5 hours each way in Boston and 45 minutes each way in Cleveland. You don’t know traffic until you have lived in Boston. Today, I live 20 miles from our office on Agler Road and my drive is generally 30 minutes or less each way.